tv [untitled] July 7, 2012 4:00am-4:30am PDT
just talking about the bare minimum at this developer is from the community, is familiar with the planning process, unusual requests have not been made. i just find it really frustrating, frankly. in terms of ceqa, it is very clear we're not to approve a project that has a significant impact on the environment that allows that impact has been it eliminated or substantially lessened. especially if there are other options. unfortunately, the net gain of this project, which you could say insert any project name, every product qualifies for that. anything that you build any place qualifies for that. to say that is your statement of overriding consideration is really disingenuous. that cannot be the reason. every single project has that benefit, but not every single project is one that we need to have in our community. i just honestly think that we
have had so much time on this project, we have talked about a lot of issues. i don't think tonight we're going to sit here and revise a project. i think the project sponsor for any, for some reason does not have the intention. at the same time, the actions do not match the intention. i don't know why when we get to the commission the story seems slightly different than what has been going on in the community, but i find it extremely frustrating. you have got a lot of feedback on the building. yes, the architecture is slightly better than the previous iteration that was presented to us and the massing of the building is slightly smaller than the previous iteration, but this project does not substantially -- but this project is not substantially different or approved of the project two years ago. additionally, there are no benefits to this project, no benefits that make this project necessary or desirable.
to hear the same argument for every housing to the lead based on your argument, i cannot support this project. i cannot support a continuing the project because the project sponsor does not seem to me interested in working with the community. i don't know why that is. maybe that has to be decided other places. as planning commissioners, looking at the threshold of conditional use, looking at the fact there are exceptions to the bulk limitations and the height and bulk district, a variance from the rear yard, all of the exceptions, this is not a code complying product to begin with. i think we are exercising our discretion. president fong: commissioner sugaya? commissioner sugaya: i think commissioner borden was going in the same direction i was. by discussing the building, we're jumping the gun a little bit. we also need to adopt findings
for ceqa, among which are overriding considerations. it seems to me the way the override considerations are drafted, it is as commissioner borden said. the arguments presented to us are that this meets all of the city policies, but, of course, every product like this meets city policies. we have nothing before us in the override the that says the developer is going beyond and giving us some kind of community benefits that justify the demolition of historic resource. let me give you some examples. under policy 2.1, the overriding considerations, use of rapid transit and other transportation improvements in the city and region as the catalyst for desirable development and coordinate new facilities with other private development. the argument is due to the abundant commercial services in
the area, residents of the product minimize use of private automobile to commute and meet basic needs. we say that about every project. there is nothing here that says the developer is going to reduce his parking to 75%, 50%, discouraging people from using their automobile and encouraging them to take transit. there is nothing in here that says he is going to provide car share spaces. thereby encouraging people not to use the automobile and to use this other forms of transportation that is suddenly becoming more popular all over the country. there is nothing in here that says he might provide them as other developers have done with transit passes to encourage people to take transit instead of driving in their car. that is the kind of override the that i think we need to be considering, not just something that says because the product is next to a transit station, a
transit line that people will use transit. i don't think that works. also, here is another example. this is a little different because these are overriding considerations for an area plan. this is down in los angeles. the revised specific plan calls for a component of up to 20 applicant and the county, requiring 2200 dwelling units, for low or moderate housing. then it says this component includes an aggressive marketing program. and it says the affordable housing component for this plan is above and beyond the requirements of the county's general plan. so we have nothing here that says the developer is offering us, let's say, another to affordable housing units within the development.
that might sit very well with me because that is what we have been talking about earlier today. or that he will pay, i don't know what the affordable housing fee would be in this case, but let's say it is $5. that he would be paying $6 or $7 as a gesture for the overriding considerations that i think need to have before we can approve the project. it says the applicant is voluntarily submitting to comply with the city's proposal for some highway and other improvement. even though such a program was not determined to be necessary mitigation for the final eir. we have nothing like that here. provisions have been made for improve parks, libraries, fire stations. this is an area plan so they provide those things, but it
says, all of which are above and beyond the mitigation required in ceqa. so i think the way that the overrides have been constructed, they have taken each city policy, which the development had sought to meet anyway, and it does not seem to me that just meeting the requirements gives it any real committee -- community benefit in the face of the demolition of an historic resources which cannot be mitigated. this is not just a product we are doing in eir on that does not have any significant adverse impacts, that don't meet overrides. we have to have something. also, mr. silverman is not here. mr. rubin, mr. silverman authored a letter to us that was dated, i think, june 19 or something.
june 19. i assumed a letter that is in the presentation was authored by mr. silverman. is that correct? he signed it, so i assume that he altered it. -- he signed it, so i assume that he authored it. yes. it is right in the first part. >> i grabbed the structural report. i am assuming that if he signed a, he authored it. commissioner sugaya: unfortunately, to staff, beginning on page 21 of the conditional use authorization and variants, back to the overriding consideration statement, that section.
>> you walk in the conditional use? commissioner sugaya: yes. the pages are numbered variously, but this is way towards the back, even though it says page 21. the top part of the page is a synopsis of the report. yeah, use to connect. if you go to the bottom it says, "advancement of public health and safety." do we assume that mr. guy authored this also? or by the planning department's staff? >> yes. commissioner sugaya: and then at what i would like to know is what is the propriety of be there -- i don't know who authored what now. the advancement of the public health and safety, and says it
is the policy of the city to provide a safe informant for its citizens and visitors. mr. silverman says it is the policy of the city to provide a safe and fire meant for -- safe environment for its citizens and visitors. it is in the public health and safety interest of the city and county of san francisco and the residents and visitors to demolish the church, etcetera, etcetera. mr. silverman says it is in the public out and said the interest of the city and county to demolish the church to prevent injury or death in the event of collapse, etc. the language, if you go on, it is the same with -- if you go to the next page -- the tax base enhancements, is the same as what is in the presentation that we have been given by mr. silverman, number four. this is the first bullet on the
top. the policy to support and enhance the tax base, the policy of the city is to support and enhance the tax base, etc. it is the same for the general plan advancements, construction of new housing, number 5, mr. silverman's green attributes of the project. increasing housing supply is number 10. we have had this situation before, 555 washington, where in essence the attorney wrote the document. i'm not assuming that happened here because i did not know the sequence of correspondents, but we can certainly get a hold of mr. guy or the planning staff emails to see what the process was of creating these. i know what the city what attorney will say, it does not matter created them because we just vote on it, but i am just
talking about the appearance of this entire thing. i don't think we can make the findings of overriding considerations in the first place, so i want to have their request the commission take up each item -- 8a, 8b, 8c -- separately in vote. president fong: commissioner moore? commissioner moore: i believe the product as proposed fails to meet conditional use authorization. there is nothing necessary or desirable about the project. compatible is not really part of the definition of conditional use. the use of the product description as looking for a project to be compatible with a number of objectives, as defined in the code, also defined by community and neighborhood
acceptance. this particular neighborhood has distinguished itself over the last six years of having several very difficult projects in their general area where the neighbors and an extraordinary amount of time working with the developers and architects and really, in front of our commission, have shown the ability to shape projects so that in the and it is a win-win for everybody. this is not forcing the developer into unreasonable concessions, it was basically meeting common objectives which through the budget work of the neighbors, including staff, project meeting, and objectives which throughout the diligent work of the neighbors, including staff, met the project. in this particular case, there is a large amount of time where was very clear what the general
objections of the community were and what is in front of us tonight is something, from my perspective, which has not come at any 1 inch closer to being acceptable. and there are a number of reasons. besides from the height and the definitions, under rcu, which would have to be an exceptional product either architecturally or other benefits, this project is contradicting all of those objectives. i think this building as corporate-looking. it actually resembles one of the van ness buildings quite closely. the building is too tall. i hesitate to do with, but i will. i have to say that if somebody wants to propose a penthouse, it should not appear in front of this commission and put a single-family suburban home on
the sixth floor of the building, because that is what it looks like. this is not a pet house. when you look at elegant penthouse design and a new building, for example, in the king street area, ring, hill, those buildings become basically like the building topped becoming taller, a reduced footprint, which elegantly blends and completes the building, but it is not a visual impact on any of the surrounding buildings. in this particular case, this particular pet house is like a panicake trying to hold the edge of the building. what i find ironic, and i find ithis, it has 6 decks. i like ducks. i realize, though, that the side of the decks were 589 square
feet, which is almost 2 1/2 times small efficiency units. then they range from 300, 380 square feet, and it is nice to have a 120 sq. ft. back in front of your bathroom. the whole at of the building is with these decks dominating the edge of the buildings, the impression of height. my point being that if there was any sensitivity towards helping make the penthouse less visible, it would be a pet house that does not have a separate lobby. it would not be a penthouse with a separate elevator. it would definitely not be operating over 4850 square feet. i am sounding sarcastic, but there are other elements.
i am making a case that this building, as proposed, is not approval, and i am making the case that somebody who stands in front of this commission, literally in the 11th hour, and tries to make amendments, i could do this or that, to me lacks credibility. in terms of height and bulk, rear yard of open space. any creative solution on parking could have easily brought the rear yard variance into a garden courtyard on greed. we have that many buildings which use exact parking one level below. we have that all the time. that is a possible solution. you could also buy a building that commands a higher price per unit. you could easily make to basements. and you would have a code compliance, non-variants required, one grade.
i think this is a misnomer to include this roof deck as open space because it is mostly paved and it has a couple of planters and benches. i do not consider that an adequate substitute for a variance and use of a courtyard on a garage alternative for what is required. one last thing would be the discussion -- i talked about parking. there is a possibility for this building to take -- going back to the issue of parking -- to actually lower the parking ratio by a little bit to get away with one level below grade and not requiring the elevator garage. overall, and every aspect of the building, the basic unit size,
the net mix, two elevator lobbies, everything that tends to push and maximize the building as possible. i find the design itself not at all a response to the neighborhood. the canopy's look more to me like financial district entrances to contemporary bank buildings. overall, i find it disappointing that while the neighborhood supports a building in this area, and we have seen how they do, dismisses the architectural requirements in all ways. president fong: commissioner wu? vice-president wu: i strongly agree with commissioner sugaya about overriding considerations.
it means giving something back that mitigates the significant and unavoidable impact. he gave a number of suggestions as to what this could be. i don't see any of those in this current document. i also want to echo the comments of other commissioners, that to go above 40 feet means info being, proving you have something that is necessary and desirable. there is no instance here that has been proven. it is just market rate housing. i also will not be supporting this project. president fong: commissioner antonini? commissioner antonini: as i have stated before, there is nothing wrong with market rate housing and there is a benefit to the neighborhood. this is a hearing where you have to explain how things happen in san francisco and why we have these issues. that said, i would like to bring forward a motion with, what i'm hearing, from the other
commissioners, things they're asking for. i will disagree with commissioner moore. i like the architecture. often times, some of the other commissioners are in favor of more contemporary elements, which this has come not a contemporary interpretation of the historical rhythms. i think it does a good job of that and i think the materials are good. i agree that the penthouse, of course, has to be changed in a manner where there might be two or more units at that level rather than having the entire global be a penthouse. that said, i would propose approval. i also agree that might have to be separate. here is what i would like to see. i don't know if project sponsors would go for it. but the inclusion of a community meeting room. ok. i don't have time to do the math, but i would like to see the fee 12% higher than what
would be required. i believe 15%, is that is correct? if it is in lieu, is it 50%? >> 17%. commissioner antonini: okay, i am saying 12% above the number that is at 17%. so what ever the math works out to, it would be a significant community benefit to affordable housing, which would be above and beyond the amount that is dictated by law. that is an overriding thing. as is the community meeting room. i'd like to see at least a two car share additions to the parking. the parking can remain one-one, depending on the unit geometry. probably when we get to the next part of my motion, the unit, will be somewhat lower because
we will remove one full floor, so we will be no more than 55 feet at the highest point of the building. i don't know if dematha will come out exactly that way, but you would have -- i don't know if the map will come out exactly that way, but you will have one fewer floors, working down to meet the house is at the neighborhood. the other thing that i would add, as we addressed the corner, maybe some public area where people could sit down, open up that corner more as the architect has done very well already. then some sort of contribution, i would not say how much it would be, to the van ness rapid transit bus fund. which is something that should be used by a lot of the residence. going down to city hall, wherever they may go. what that amount would be would have to be determined by staff, working with the developer.
that would be my motion. i know that it has many parts to it, and i am not sure the project sponsor would agree, but hopefully the neighborhood would be agreeable to those changes. president fong: commissioner sugaya? commissioner sugaya: oh, it is inconsequential, never mind. president fong: there is a motion. i don't hear a second. commissioner antonini: does anyone want me to repeat any part? commissioner moore: no. commissioner antonini: ok. president fong: commissioner borden? commissioner borden: i don't know if you want to take this action separately, but i was going to move to disapprove and not about the ceqa findings and deny the see yc.u.
commissioner moore: second. >> your normal practice is to have an intent to disapprove. it then we would take your comments and create a motion for you. commissioner borden: ok. president fong: commissioner antonini? commissioner antonini: motion to continue. commissioner moore: the motion on the floor was seconded. president fong: but it was altered because it is a motion to disapprove. do you second that? commissioner moore: oh, yeah. it is just a question of wording, not content. commissioner antonini: does the motion to continue take precedent? president fong: yes, but there was no second. on that motion of intent -- commissioner sugaya: if we're
going this direction, i think i know what will happen. should we including any and all things in this discussion? when we are going to get sued ? because we're going to get sued or we might get sued? because i have other examples of things that were not included in the override. >> it is my understanding the commission would be taking a motion of intent to disapprove. we would work with staff to create a set of findings and a motion that you would take up at your next available calendar. certainly, if the commission would like to provide further direction to staff on the basis of the intent of disapproving and what the commission to look like to see in its findings, the commission can do that.
alternatively, we would have to work on it with the office. commissioner sugaya: i was reminded when i was reading that county thing, they did reference that the upper having gone above and beyond the requirements. i think they use the title 24 as an example, reference tidal 24. our override, i think that it says it will meet the league standard, but there is nothing that says what that standard is. it would be exceeded in some fashion. i don't know if that is at sulfur or whatever, there is not anything that says this project may go toward something higher that would benefit the city even more. also, i think there was mentioned a couple of times that because of the city's transit pass first policy and encourage a mass transit, i give examples. also, i think it is conceivable
that reducing the parking or reconfiguring the parking in some fashion, commissioner moore made some comments, could result in not having a variance for the open space. i would just like to get those into the record. president fong: commissioner moore? commissioner moore: my understanding is we are trying to eight make a motion of intent. i am not trying to figure out what the project might do. at this moment, my intent is to have staph together with the city attorney's office very carefully crash craft a motion e nile. that is basically what is in front of us at the moment. president fong: commissioner antonini? commissioner antonini: the public record has my motion, and i have been receptive to some of the things that were brought up by commissioner sugaya and
commissioner moore, as possibilities to perhaps work on changing the parking ratio. that was not something that was in my motion, but i did mention the car share. but i certainly would always be on the table. -- but that certainly would always be on the table. >> ok, the motion on the floor he is intent to disapprove the project. on that motion - commissioner antonini: no. commissioner borden: aye. commissioner moore: aye. vice president miguel: aye. president fong: aye. commissioner sugaya: aye. >> that motion is approved, 6-1. >> it seems the five criteria necessary for granting of variants have not been met and i am disinclined to grant this variance.